As a teenager, and then young adult in the 60's, I learned well the meaning of the words "integration and segregation."Their usage was descriptive of education and society as we knew and lived it.I remember watching the "Colored" water fountain at Sears and Roebuck to see what color the water would be when it flowed out.
Christians often attempt to segregate their spiritual life from their daily life, as though they are totally unrelated.We may execute all the spiritual disciplines- Bible reading, prayer, church attendance- but if we don't translate those things into daily living we are doomed to an ineffective spiritual life.
We must see our spiritual life as the first link in everything we do, not as some independent activity we perform which is unrelated to the details of daily living.Our motto should be, "ONE LIFE, ONE WAY."All of life is spiritual.
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, I no longer want to live a segregated life.Show me how to include you in the minute details of everything I do."Amen and amen.
Two Ethiopians were the top finishers among 18,000 entrants at the recent Chevron Houston Marathon.Twenty-one year old Dire Tune broke the women’s record at 2:26:52.Her male counterpart, Feyisa Tusse, 23, won the men’s event at 2:11:39 (although he didn’t break a record).
Training starts months, if not a year, in advance for the average runner.There are practice runs and shorter races before the Big One.It’s as much a mental contest as it is physical.For those who’ve made a career of marathons, it’s years of discipline and preparation.That kind of discipline defies the imagination for those of us who are spectators.
We can draw the same parallel to our faith walk.It takes years of discipline and plenty of preparation to live according to God’s word.Hear His word:
"Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified." 1st Corinthians 9:24-27 (New Living Translation)
GospeLines Prayer:We thank You for giving us the directions for this path called life.Your Word guides us and sustains us when we run the race.
May we keep our eyes on the prize – for our crown that lasts forever.
Some shortcuts can be helpful, but most can lead to disaster.
My city is crisscrossed with railroad tracks running east and west, north and south.In some places, two tracks run parallel to each other.It was about 9 A.M. on a workday, traffic was heavy, and the red lights began to flash at the intersection, warning of an oncoming train.I slowed to a stop behind five other cars in my lane and watched the barriers fold down while the southbound train approached on the track nearest me."This will make me late for my appointment," I muttered to myself.
As the rail cars were coming to an end, I noticed the car ahead of me begin to pull out of the lane of traffic.I knew that he was going to drive around the barricade as soon as the train passed and get a jump on the rest of us.But he didn't see the r locomotive coming from the other direction on the northbound side of the railroad tracks.The shortcut met with disastrous results.
Life offers many temptations for shortcuts.Most never work out.Dr. Roger A. Rhoades, psychologist, said: "The best way to avoid these shortcut disasters is to make a commitment to healthy growth and development.TIME, WORK, and FAITH are the three main ingredients of this process.In a world that continues to bombard you with the ideas that time is your enemy, hard work is for the brainless and faith is a crutch for those who are not strong enough to make their own breaks, it is very difficult to stay committed to (a task, relationship, work) that needs all three ingredients."
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, I pray that TIME will never become my adversary, that WORK will always be a blessing, and that FAITH will forever keep me from taking too many shortcuts."Amen and amen.
Our walk with Jesus is a frustratingly futile effort to get it right.But walking straight with God is not a perfect path; we will stumble, take two steps forward and three backward, embarrass ourselves and sometimes even act like the devil in our weakest moments.
In his book Authority in Prayer, Dutch Sheets found encouragement from the Lord when he learned that a godly life may not always be a life of perfection.
"This time, I was not only praying but also speaking in a conference. Before my session, I again heard the Spirit speak: 'I want you to change the atmosphere for Me, over this city and nation. Command it to shift!' I was somewhat stunned. I remember the intimidation I felt standing to the side, waiting to be introduced. Finally, in my insecurity, I said to the Lord, 'I sure hope I don't mess this up.' As clearly as I have ever heard God speak, I heard Him that day. 'You would have to try real hard to mess this up. Unless you totally rebel against My leadership and refuse to do what I've instructed you, I'm going to do this! You don't have to say or do things perfectly. Just do what I've asked you to and I'll do the rest. I need your voice, not your perfection.' Those were some of the most comforting words I've ever heard. I knew God had full authority to do this, and I knew He was authorizing me to be His instrument."
What a fantastic word: God doesn't expect (or need) perfection! What a relief this can be if we can only understand this simple message.
Paul tells us that "…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)Later, he adds, "I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing." (Romans 7:17-19)
Jesus even said that if we try to follow all the points of the law (If we try to be perfect), we'll be "loaded down with burdens we can hardly carry…" (Luke 11:46)
All who rely on observing every point of the law (and getting everything right) are under a curse: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law" because whoever tries to keeps the whole law but stumbles only one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10)
We don't stand justified or righteous before God because we keep every point of the law or because we do everything right.We live by faith!Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. (Galatians 3:13)
We all stumble in many ways.If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check... but no man can tame the tongue.It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:2, 8)So, no man can be perfect.However, do not fear.As Dutch Sheets said, if you listen to God's leadership and instructions and accept His grace, you'd have to try real hard to mess up God's plans for you.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, boast all the more gladly about your weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on you. That is why, for Christ's sake, you can delight in your weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when you are imperfect, He is perfect. (2nd Corinthians 12:9-10)
GospeLines Prayer:Lord, thank you for graciously looking beyond my weakness and frailty; thank you for forgiving my mistakes and for using me in spite of my faults and shortcomings.Lord, we praise You for removing us from the curse of the law and placing us under the blood of Your precious Son.It is in His name we offer You this praise and thanks.Amen!
“…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”